2013 NBA Mock Draft: Imagining the Big Board on Draft Night

Bryant West@bswest5Correspondent IOctober 3, 2012

2013 NBA Mock Draft: Imagining the Big Board on Draft Night

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    The 2012 NBA draft class members are going through their first training camps in preparation for their rookie seasons. Seems like just yesterday that they were drafted.

    The 2013 draft will be here before we know it, and while it isn't considered as talented as the 2012 class, it does have a strong collection of young talent. Who will rise and fall as the NCAA season begins? We can only guess for now, but let's take an early look anyway.

    Here is my current big board for the 2013 NBA Draft.

    Note: I have laid out the first round according to my projections for the final 2012-13 standings. A breakdown of the lottery teams (and my reasoning for why they'll be in the lottery) can be seen here. If you see the standings playing out differently, give a shout out in the comments.

    For a comprehensive list of draft pick debt, check out hoopsworld.com.

Players I Expect Will Not Declare in 2013

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    Here are three incoming freshmen who would be first round selections that I do not see entering in the 2013 Draft.


    Name: Kaleb Tarczewski

    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'9", 230 pounds

    School: Arizona


    Name: Anthony Bennett

    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'9", 230 pounds

    School: UNLV


    Name: Ricky Ledo

    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'6", 190 pounds

    School: Providence 

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 215 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    While I don't believe that Nerlens Noel is the best prospect in this class (see pick No. 2), I do think that if the Charlotte Bobcats own the top pick, this is the one that makes the most sense for them.

    Noel garners undeniable comparisons to 2012 top pick Anthony Davis, and the two share more than just a choice in schools. Noel is very athletic and long, and possesses incredible defensive tenacity. He'll be the top blocker this season and will be up there in rebounds.

    I don't think he'll be an Anthony Davis level player, though, mainly because he's much more raw offensively. I'd have most other teams picking Shabazz Muhammad from UCLA here, but Charlotte already has Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. 

    Regardless of how much potential you think Noel has, with his athleticism and defensive skills he'll be a top-two selection. 

2. Orlando Magic: Shabazz Muhammad

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    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: UCLA

    Year: Freshman

    This scenario works out just fine for Orlando. I'm pretty sure the Magic won't mind taking the highest potential small forward since Kevin Durant was drafted in 2007. 

    I'm not saying Muhammad will become the next Durant, but it is possible. His scoring potential is as high as we've seen in years. He needs to continue to improve his jump shot, but his instincts with the ball are incredible. He's a very solid defender and a smart player and whichever team snags him will be getting a sure-fire star.

    Orlando needs something to smile about after the Dwight Howard fiasco. Getting Muhammad would give them a star to build around.

3. Houston Rockets: Cody Zeller

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 215 pounds

    School: Indiana

    Year: Sophomore

    Cody Zeller is probably the smartest player to hit the NCAA in years. Even if he's not as athletically gifted as some of the other prospects, he's going to be a top five selection thanks to his smarts and his incredible skill set.

    Zeller dominated offensively, scoring 15.6 points and shooting an absurd 62.3 percent from the field last season. He needs to add a ton of muscle before he'll be able to handle NBA big men, but he has got excellent quickness and a handle that most centers lack.

    It's amazing just how raw Zeller still is considering the spectacular season he had last year. He may be up there with Noel and Muhammad in terms of potential. 

    Note: The Rockets' first-round selection will go to Atlanta through Brooklyn as part of the Joe Johnson deal if the selection is 15th or lower. It is lottery protected and will remain with Houston if they are pick 14th or higher. 

4. Detroit Pistons: Alex Poythress

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    Position: SF/PF

    Physicals:  6'8", 215 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Detroit has Brandon Knight as their point guard and Greg Monroe/Andre Drummond in the middle, so they are secure in those three positions. They could use some more help on the wing, which leads to the Poythress pick.

    With Nerlens Noel in the paint, Poythress won't get as much attention as he should. He can score from just about anywhere on the court, and his abilities on defense aren't too bad either. He's a very well-rounded prospect with near-elite level athleticism.

    I wish Poythress had chosen a school to attend where he could be the go-to guy, because Kentucky is so deep that he will be held back by their depth. Adding him to an already impressive Pistons' roster would make Detroit a very dangerous young squad. 

5. Sacramento Kings: Tony Mitchell

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    Position: SF/PF

    Physicals:  6'7", 215 pounds

    School: North Texas

    Year: Sophomore

    I really like Tony Mitchell as the top small-school player off the board. If he was playing in a bigger environment, he'd be one of the most talked about players in the nation. 

    He was held back last year by academic troubles, but he finished the season averaging 14.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks a game. He also shot 56.7 percent from the floor and 43.9 percent from three.

    Sacramento needs a small forward badly, and Mitchell would fit beautifully. With his defensive abilities and solid shooting skills, he'd give the Kings a long term answer, who doesn't need the ball to be effective. 

    You won't find a harder worker in this draft, and I expect that Mitchell (regardless of where he ends up) will be remembered as one of the draft's best. 

    Note: The Kings' first-round selection will be sent to Cleveland if the pick is 14th or lower due to the Omri Casspi trade. If the pick is 13th or higher, Sacramento will keep the pick.

6. New Orleans Hornets: Adonis Thomas

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    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'6", 215 pounds

    School: Memphis

    Year: Sophomore

    The 2013 draft class is full of excellent big men and light on the talented guards. While I considered giving the Hornets a center here (Anthony Davis will eventually play power forward), I'll toss the dice on the last remaining top-notch wing.

    Thomas is much like former Memphis Tiger Tyreke Evans. He's great at getting to the basket (he shot 48.6 percent from the floor last season) but needs to work on his jump shot. This year he'll be Memphis' top option and you can bet he'll live up to the challenge.

    Next to the sharpshooting Eric Gordon, Thomas' slashing style would be a great fit. He's shorter than you would like for a small forward, but he makes up for that with excellent athleticism. 

7. Houston Rockets (from Toronto Raptors): James McAdoo

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    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'9", 230 pounds

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    While he averaged just 15.6 minutes a game last season, James McAdoo would have been a lottery selection if he'd declared for the 2012 draft. Now that he is the Tar Heels' unquestioned star, he'll have much more time to prove himself to the country at large.

    With Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson gone, McAdoo will have a much better offensive workload. He has a solid jumper to go with sharp post moves, and he can defend and rebound as well as you'd hope for a stud power forward.

    He'll have a breakout season as Thomas Robinson did last year. A Player of the Year award isn't out of the question, and neither is a top five selection.

    Houston needs all the talent they can get, and McAdoo is easily the best player left on the board. 

    Note: The Raptors' 2013 first-round selection will be sent to Houston if the pick is fourth or lower due to the Kyle Lowry trade. If the pick is third or higher, Toronto will keep the pick.

8. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Archie Goodwin

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    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'5", 195 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshmen

    Utah currently has four starting quality big men on their roster (Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter). I wouldn't be surprised if the Jazz trade one of them this season, but with their current players they don't need anymore bigs.

    Instead, I think they'd take Goodwin, who is arguably the best guard in the draft. Much like Poythress (or any player who goes to Kentucky nowadays), he'll be held back stats wise by the deep team.

    Still, with all the media attention on the Wildcats (and all the wins they'll undoubtedly get) he'll have plenty of chances to show off his stuff. He needs to work on his shooting range, but he has got excellent offensive awareness.

    Note: The Warriors' first-round selection will be sent to Utah if the pick is eighth or lower due to the Deron Williams trade through New Jersey. If the pick is seventh or higher, Golden State will keep the pick.

9. Phoenix Suns: Isaiah Austin

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 210 pounds

    School: Baylor

    Year: Freshmen

    There is a lot to like about Phoenix's rebuilt-on-the-fly roster. They have two real needs—they need a shooting guard, and more importantly, they need a star. They currently have a solid squad, but they are a star away from real contention.

    If Goodwin fell into their laps, it would be a perfect fit. They could gamble on another guard here, but I think they'd take whoever has the most star power—and at this point, that is Isaiah Austin.

    There is some concern that Austin, like former Baylor star Perry Jones, doesn't have the work ethic/physical style to excel in basketball. We'll need to see that before I buy it. He had the physical tools and skills of a star NBA center.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Rudy Gobert

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  7'0", 220 pounds

    Age: 20

    School: Cholet, International (France)

    Gobert is undeniably the top foreign player in this class, and arguably the top foreign prospect since Ricky Rubio. He's 7'0" tall and possesses a 7'9" wingspan, but he isn't just limited to his physical gifts.

    He's already an excellent rebounder and a strong defender who will need to fill in his 7'0" frame before he can battle NBA big men. His offensive skills are about average right now but there is plenty of reason for optimism. 

    Right now I would rank Isaiah Austin over him, but don't be surprised if Gobert goes in the top five next season.  

11. Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBryan Nash

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    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: Oklahoma State

    Year: Sophomore

    I predict a huge bounceback season for Nash, who failed to live up to the gigantic expectations placed on him last year. He needs to improve his efficiency (he shot just 39.4 percent last season) and his deep shot (averaged 2.4 three-point attempts per game but made just 23.5 percent of them).

    Defensively, he has got the length and athletic ability to be one of the better defenders in the class. As long as his efficiency goes up, he'll be a high draft pick. 

    Cleveland still has a big hole at the 3, which Nash would fill well. He's a bit shorter than you would like, but he makes up for it with his athleticism. 

12. Charlotte Bobcats (from Portland Trail Blazers): C.J. McCollum

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    Position: PG/SG

    Physicals:  6'3", 200 pounds

    School: Lehigh

    Year: Junior

    Every season we have one player who rises from obscurity and locks himself in as a lottery pick. Last year, it was Damian Lillard. This year, it's going to be C.J. McCollum.

    McCollum and his Lehigh squad were the Cinderellas of the 2012 NCAA Tournament after they upset No. 2 seed, Duke. McCollum had 30 points, six assists and six rebounds in the win.

    McCollum's comparison to Lillard is nearly spot on. Like Lillard, he enters his junior year as a proven scorer with questions about his point guard abilities. Lillard emerged as a real floor general last year, and he earned a No. 6 overall selection because of it.

    McCollum needs to prove he can run the floor. If he does, I would lock him in as a lottery pick. Charlotte has Kemba Walker at the point right now, but if he doesn't pan out this season, they'll look for his replacement.

    Note: The Trail Blazers' first-round selection will go to Charlotte if it is pick 12th or lower due to the Gerald Wallace trade in 2011. If the pick is 11th or higher, Portland will keep the pick.

13. Washington Wizards: C.J. Leslie

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    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'9", 210 pounds

    School: North Carolina State

    Year: Sophomore

    North Carolina State is a big sleeper school for many this season, and its big name is C.J. Leslie. He has got size and athleticism to play both spots in college, although he may be a bit too small to play power forward in the pros.

    He's a very efficient scorer who shot 52.5 percent from the field last season and is a very versatile defender. If he's going to play small forward in the NBA, he'll need to improve his range, as he shot 28.6 percent from three last year.

    Washington could go just about anywhere with this pick. They could take one of the dozen big men to eventually replace Emeka Okafor, but I expect that Leslie will have a very nice year and lock himself in as a late lottery choice.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves: B.J. Young

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    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'2", 175 pounds

    School: Arkansas

    Year: Sophomore

    Minnesota has an excellent roster, but the one area of concern is at the shooting guard position. Brandon Roy was an excellent sign this summer, but you have to worry about his long-term viability due to the health of his knees.

    B.J. Young would give the Timberwolves some much needed range. He is an electric, quick scorer, with a deadly jump shot, but he'll be held back by his lack of size. He's a shooting guard in a point guard's body and that will hurt him defensively. 

    The next best shooting guard after Young is P.J. Hairston, and while he would be a better fit defensively, he is nowhere near Young's potential scoring-wise. Young averaged 15.3 points on 50.4 percent shooting and 41.3 percent from the three.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric

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    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'8", 220 pounds

    Age: 18

    School: Bilbao, International (Croatia)

    Saric was named MVP of the U18 European Championship last month after he averaged 25.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. In the championship game, he finished with 39 points and 11 boards.

    While he has played power forward in Europe, his NBA position is small forward. The most impressive part of his U18 run (highlights can be seen here) is his extremely solid jump shot. His range had been considered average but he has really improved it.

    He's not what you would call athletic and honestly looks somewhat clunky, but he's a smart player and a tough cover. I don't expect Josh Smith to remain in Atlanta, and taking Saric would give the Hawks a very solid replacement. 

16. Dallas Mavericks: Steven Adams

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 240 pounds

    School: Pittsburgh

    Year: Freshman

    As the season goes on, I expect Adams will either sneak up a bit in the draft board or fall completely off the radar. He has great potential thanks to his unquestioned motor, but he's very raw.

    He's a tough player and already a great rebounder, but we'll have to wait until games start before we know just how skilled he is as a scorer. I think he could become the second coming of Meyers Leonard, except with a better work ethic.

    Dallas currently has Chris Kaman as their center, but he isn't a long term fit.

17. New York Knicks: Patric Young

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    Position: PF/C

    Physicals:  6'10", 225 pounds

    School: Florida

    Year: Sophomore

    Young could have entered the 2012 draft but chose to return to school, which should prove to be a good decision. He's a promising big man and he shot an excellent 61.2 percent from the field last season, but he was inconsistent and is still pretty raw.

    He's a good rebounder and a nice defender, but for all his athleticism, he's not that great of a shot-blocker. Hopefully, he has a much more consistent season for Florida this year—they'll need it out of him.

    New York needs more size, specially as Amar'e Stoudemire gets up there in the years.

18. Utah Jazz: Myck Kabongo

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    Position: PG

    Physicals:  6'2", 180 pounds

    School: Texas

    Year: Sophomore

    After adding a wing with pick No. 8, I expect the Jazz would use their second selection on a point guard. Lucky for them, the best pure point guard is still on the board.

    The point guard collection in the draft seems sparse for now, but Kabongo has nice potential. He averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists last season, but shot a poor 39.1 percent from the field. He needs to prove himself as a scorer and continue to impress with his passing.

    Utah very well could flip one of their big men this season for a point guard (Mo Williams is their current starter), but as their roster sits right now Kabongo would be a great fit. 

19. Miami Heat (from Philadelphia 76ers): Jeff Withey

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'11", 240 pounds

    School: Kansas

    Year: Senior

    Miami could go in 20 different directions here, but I'll give them Withey for a number of reasons.

    In the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Withey was the best defender not named Anthony Davis. He's as tough as they come and an elite shot-blocker, averaging 3.6 a game last season.

    With Thomas Robinson off to the NBA, this season will be critical for Withey. Can he prove to be more than just a role player? Can he handle a bigger offensive workload (he scored just 9.0 points a game last season)?

    Even if he's just a role player, Miami could use a defensive center. This is one of my more favorite fits so far.

    Note: The Heat obtained Philadelphia's 2013 first-round selection in the Arnett Moultrie trade. The pick is lottery protected.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Memphis Grizzlies): Otto Porter

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    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'9", 210 pounds

    School: Georgetown

    Year: Sophomore

    After adding a shooting wonder at No. 14, Minnesota goes for the high potential Porter here at No. 20. Whereas B.J. Young is an explosive scorer, Porter is a much more balanced player who still needs to work on his jump shot.

    He's very fluid and has good scoring instincts, but shot just 22.6 percent from three point land last year. If he can get that number to go up, he'll go up the draft boards. The only NBA skill he current lacks is that missing range.

    Note: The Timberwolves obtained the rights to Memphis' 2013 first-round selection in the Donatas Motiejunas trade. It is lottery protected.

21. Chicago Bulls: Kyle Anderson

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    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'9", 235 pounds

    School: UCLA

    Year: Freshman

    While I currently have Anderson in the early 20s, I could easily see him going top 10 (or even top five) in June. One of two scenarios could happen for Anderson:

    In scenario one, Anderson pulls a LeBryan Nash from last season and has a disappointing season. Playing next to Shabazz Muhammad either forces him out of position or regulates him to a secondary role, and he stays in school another season for the experience.

    In scenario two, he looks stellar next to Muhammad, rockets up the boards thanks to his incredibly well-rounded skill set, and hits a top ten selection.

    Since I have no idea which scenario will prove true (I'm leaning towards option two), I'll keep him at pick No. 20 until we see him play. 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Doug McDermott

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    Position: SF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: Creighton

    Year: Junior

    The early favorite for NCAA Player of the Year, McDermott would be one of the more polished incoming players in the class.

    He doesn't have the potential that others might possess, but he's a very proven player and that's more than you can say for most guys at this point in the draft. He averaged 22.9 points last year and will dominate again for the Bluejays. He's a scorer who can score from anywhere on the court.

    Brooklyn is in win-now mode, and having a backup 3/stretch 4 who can score like McDermott, would be a great addition. 

23. Denver Nuggets: Alex Len

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  7'1", 225 pounds

    School: Maryland

    Year: Sophomore

    The most intriguing thing about Len is his size. He stands at 7'1", with a huge wingspan and he knows how to use it. In 21 minutes a game last year he averaged 2.1 blocks.

    Expect his playing time to jump this year. Hopefully he'll become a bigger part of the Maryland offense as well—he took just 4.3 shots per game last year and averaged 6.0 points. He looks like an NBA center, but he needs to prove his skills before he earns a draft pick in 2013.

24. Los Angeles Clippers: Joshua Smith

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    Position: C

    Physicals:  6'9", 280 pounds

    School: UCLA

    Year: Sophomore

    Joshua Smith is the poster child for potential that remains untapped. In his two seasons so far at UCLA, he doesn't seem to have the work ethic to use his NBA body.

    He has got the size and strength to post up anyone in the NCAA but he took just 6.7 shots game last year (averaging 9.9 points). His Bruins should be near the top of the charts this season, so hopefully that motivates him. If he puts in the hard work, he has got the size to excel. 

25. Indiana Pacers: P.J. Hairston

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    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'5", 210 pounds

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    Hairston will have a much bigger offensive workload this year on a depleted North Carolina team. Aside from teammate James McAdoo (see pick No. 7), he may be their best scoring option. 

    After averaging just 13 minutes a game last year, this will be his big shot to prove himself. He needs to be far more efficient (he shot just 30.8 percent from the floor last year) but he has the skills to be a solid NBA scorer.

    Indiana doesn't have any big areas of need, and can afford to take the BPA (Best Player Available).

26. Boston Celtics: Andre Roberson

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    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'8", 210 pounds

    School: Colorado

    Year: Sophomore

    Roberson was a beast for Colorado last season, leading the team in steals (1.2), blocks (1.9) and rebounds (11.1). If he comes out as polished on offense this season as he is on defense, he could be a lottery pick next June.

    He averaged a solid 11.6 points per game last year, but you would expect more out of the star of the program. He may be a good defender, but he isn't good enough to the point where he could survive just as a defensive role player.

    If he averages somewhere in the range of 15-17 points this season, he'll be way higher on my list. 

27. San Antonio Spurs: Alex Abrines

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    Position: SG

    Physicals:  6'5", 200 pounds

    Age: 19

    School: Barcelona, International (Spain)

    Abrines is another player who I have in the mid-20s right now, but who could go in the lottery come draft day.

    He has excellent offensive potential and he's one of the best foreign scorers in years. He'll have plenty of chances to improve his draft stock this year, but he'll need to take advantage of them. He needs to prove himself as a defender and continue to improve his scoring efficiency. 

    Hopefully, he'll get more consistent playing time in the Euro leagues (he got just 16.4 minutes a game last season).

28. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Reggie Bullock

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    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'6", 190 pounds

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    The last of the North Carolina players on my list, Bullock very well could end up as the team leader in points. He could also average less than eight or so a game and fall out of the draft completely. 

    He has extreme breakout potential. He's a good shooter (38.2 percent from three last year) and a great defender with NBA level athleticism. He's my favorite right now for steal of the draft in 2013.

    Note: The Cavaliers have the right to swap any first-round selection they own with the Lakers in 2013 as part of the Ramon Sessions trade. The Cavaliers obtained Miami's first-round selection in the LeBron James sign-and-trade in 2010.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mike Moser

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    Position: PF

    Physicals:  6'9", 230 pounds

    School: UNLV

    Year: Sophomore

    There were times last season when Mike Moser looked like a lottery level talent. He chose to return to school this year, which may pay off in a big way since UNLV now has a stacked team.

    Moser is solid in all the skills you want a big man to have, and he's pretty bouncy. Oklahoma City could use some more size, but then again they could take just about any position here.

    Moser's potential may be too much to pass up at this point.

30. Phoenix Suns (from Mia., Through LA Lakers and Cle.): Michael Carter-Williams

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    Position: PG

    Physicals:  6'5", 175 pounds

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    At this point in the draft, you select for talent regardless of team needs. Phoenix probably won't need any point guards, but Carter-Williams at this point may be too good to pass up.

    After only playing 10 minutes a game his freshman season, Carter-Williams will be thrust into the limelight this season. He had a very good 2.1/.6 assist/turnover ratio last year, and he should be one of the NCAA's best point men.

    The only real concern with Carter-Williams (or any Syracuse player) is defense. Can he transition to the NBA's man-to-man defense?

    Note: The Suns will receive a 2013 first-round selection from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Steve Nash trade.

    The Cavaliers have the right to swap any first-round selection they own with the Lakers in 2013 as part of the Ramon Sessions trade. The Cavaliers obtained Miami's first-round selection in the LeBron James sign-and-trade in 2010.

Other Possible First-Round Selections

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    It was hard to leave a number of guys out of the first-round, so here are a list of players I will call, "First-round talent but couldn't fit in the top 30."


    Name: Wayne Blackshear

    Position: SG/SF

    Physicals:  6'5", 215 pounds

    School: Louisville

    Year: Sophomore


    Name: Mason Plumlee

    Position: PF/C

    Physicals:  6'10", 240 pounds

    School: Duke

    Year: Senior


     Name: Deshaun Thomas

    Position: SF/PF

    Physicals:  6'7", 220 pounds

    School: Ohio State

    Year: Sophomore


    Name: Gorgui Dieng

    Position: PF/C

    Physicals:  6'11", 240 pounds

    School: Louisville

    Year: Junior


    Name: Trey Burke

    Position: PG

    Physicals:  6'0", 180 pounds

    School: Michigan

    Year: Sophomore


    Name: Ryan Harrow

    Position: PG

    Physicals 5'11", 155 pounds

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Sophomore